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National Poetry Month, 2014 Poetry of the Moon and the Stars

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We may have all heard the nursery rhyme from the 1700’s, Hey Diddle Diddle:

“Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the Moon;
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.”

Poetry uses the Moon, the Sun, and the Stars as poetic metaphors and similes, and we stare out in space at night musing on what lies beyond our own understanding. The following are just some of the ways poets have used these heavenly bodies as inspiration for their verse.

From Christina Rossetti’s Sing Song (1830-1894):

Is the moon tired?

she looks so pale
Within her misty veil:
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.
Before the coming of the night


The moon shows papery white;


Before the dawning of the day


She fades away.

MOON'S ENDING
Moon, worn thin to the width of a quill,


In the dawn clouds flying,


How good to go,

light into light, and still


Giving light, dying.

By Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

In honor of this week’s New Moon and Solar Eclipse in Taurus, on Tuesday, April 29, we dedicate D.H. Lawrence’s (1885-1930) poem, New Moon:

NEW MOON
The new moon,

of no importance


lingers behind as the yellow sun glares


and is gone beyond the sea's edge;


earth smokes blue;


the new moon,

in cool height above the blushes,


brings a fresh fragrance of heaven to our senses.

EVENING STAR

~Edgar Allan Poe

'Twas noontide of summer, 


And midtime of night,


And stars, in their orbits, 


Shone pale, through the light


Of the brighter, cold moon.


'Mid planets her slaves,


Herself in the Heavens,


Her beam on the waves.

I gazed awhile

On her cold smile;


Too cold—too cold for me—


There passed, as a shroud, 


A fleecy cloud,


And I turned away to thee, 


Proud Evening Star,


In thy glory afar


And dearer thy beam shall be;


For joy to my heart 
Is the proud part


Thou bearest in Heaven at night, 


And more I admire 
Thy distant fire,


Than that colder, lowly light.

From Hannochi’s collection of poetry, A Star’s Poetry Collection:

I Am There

I am the breeze that kisses your cheek.

I am the sun that warms your face.

When you look at the purple evening sky, it is me.

When you see the majestic mountain, it is me.
When the birds sing sweetly, it is my voice.
When the water gently laps against the shore, it is my heartbeat.
I am the green grass against your feet. I am the refreshing shade of summer.
In the stars, you see my eyes. In the blue sky, you see my body.
Feel the air that surrounds you, I am there.
Feel the love in your heart, I am there.

An Algonquin Poem:

We are the stars which sing,


We sing with our light;


We are the birds of fire,


We fly over the sky.


Our light is a voice;


We make a road for the spirits;


For the spirits to pass over.


Among us are three hunters


Who chase a bear.


There never was a time


When they were not hunting.


We look down on the mountains


This is the song of the stars.


Stars

~ Marjorie Pickthall
Now in the West the slender moon lies low,
And now Orion glimmers through the trees,
Clearing the earth with even pace and slow,
And now the stately-moving Pleiades,
In that soft infinite darkness overhead
Hang jewel-wise upon a silver thread.

And all the lonelier stars that have their place,
Calm lamps within the distant southern sky,
And planet-dust upon the edge of space,
Look down upon the fretful world, and I
Look up to outer vastness unafraid
And see the stars which sang when earth was made.

A Sonnet on a Star
~Tamara Beryl Latham from Millford, Connecticut.

If I could write a sonnet 
on a star


Then bottle it and 
toss it to the sea 


Would it travel 
to the corners of the Earth,


And echo there 
the love I hold for thee?

If I could write a sonnet 
on the moon


Then bottle it and 
toss it to the winds 


Would it find your heart 
So you may briefly know, 


Where your love ends 
Is where my love begins?

If I could write a sonnet 
on the sun 


Then bottle it and 
toss it throughout time 


Would someone from a distant galaxy


Find no greater love


Than that was mine

Yet, I cannot write a sonnet 
on a star, 


Nor moon, nor even on 
the blazing sun, 


Nor bottle words to send them 


Where you are 


Nor coerce our separate hearts


To beat as one

And so my darling 


You will never hear 


The humble words of love 
I wrote for thee 


They remain encrypted, 
tightly sealed 


And yet they travel 
on eternally

What is your favorite poem about the Moon or the Stars? Try your hand at writing a poem about the Moon, the stars, and the heavens. If you write it, I will share it here in this column. Send your poem to me at c.j.almeten@gmail.com. Let's fill this column with poems from our readers as a grand finale of National Poetry Month.

Read more poems about the Moon and the Stars at the Black Cat Website.

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